one faint deluded smile

Monday, May 05, 2003


Every couple of years or so, termites seem to appear close to our house. I suppose they're actually always around, tunnelling away in our red clay earth, eating up whatever bits of wood that they fancy and generally being fairly inoccuous. A tree right next to my 'work' room hasn't looked all that well in recent months and so I had rapped it with my knuckles a few times, realized it was very hollow, whacked away at a section with my boot and, voila, there they all were. Then, a few days after a termite inspection of the house (all clear - move the wood spare off the floor, etc), we notcied that the railings on our back fence are in a worse state than the tree - they're almost paper weight. So that's another job to do around the place... and we're getting in the 'tree man' to cut down the sick tree and grind the 3 stumps we have in the yard. At least I'll get to use some creosote - what a great product name.

My first meeting with termites was back in the 80's when we lived in a small terrace in inner-Sydney's Surry Hills (which later found 'fame' as the place where one of the backpacker murder victims had lived!!). One day I heard a insectile scurrying in the utility room between the kitchen and bathroom. We hardly ever stayed for any length of time in this area but the noise was so pervasive that we couldn't miss it. I thought it might have been ants or something similar and vowed to rid ourselves of them. After procurring a can of the strongest insect killer I could find, I explored the wall where the scurrying was continuing. I hit a hole in the wall easily (they must have been there for months) and, like water escaping from a broken fishtank, a flood of termites (I still didn't know what they were) rained down the wall. I was instantly petrified thinking that they'd attack me or crawl up my nasal passages but I sprayed the can until it was almost exhausted. The noise they made was horrendous too - a clicking of hard sheels against one another and against the concrete below. We must have cleaned up 2 bucketloads full of them. We moved out soon after.